• Saturday, Jul 11, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:30 pm

61% leather workers have health problems

  • Published at 01:25 am January 27th, 2019
Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

OSHE foundation unveiled a baseline report titled 'Occupation Health and Safety Baseline Study in Leather Supply Chain of Bangladesh'

A huge number of workers, 61%  to be accurate, at the Dhaka leather industry are currently suffering from different kinds of health issues and accidents at their workplace, said Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE foundation). 

OSHE foundation unveiled a baseline report titled “Occupation Health and Safety Baseline Study in Leather Supply Chain of Bangladesh” at the CIRDAP auditorium on Saturday during a multi-stakeholder consultation on “Promotion of Decent Work at Leather Supply Chain.”

According to the report, 61% of leather workers are currently suffering from various types of health problems and injuries from accidents at their workplaces which is around 64 of 105 study participants, according to the study. 

Many non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and cancer were left out of the research design due to lack of sources of the researcher. 

Among the sufferers, 26.6% workers are suffering from headaches, 18.8% from skin burns, 15.6% from hand and leg pains, 14.1% have allergies, and 10.9% of the workers are facing knee and back pain.

The rest are facing nose irritation, eye pain, body itching, sleep problems, chest pains, cough, breathing problems, diarrhoea, hearing problems, blurred vision, redness of eye, eye irritation, scabies, and hand pain in varying frequencies.

Meanwhile, in the last six months, a maximum of 33.3% workers suffered from knee and back pain, 26% from body pains, 20% from hand itching, skin irritation and leg ulcers, 13.3% from headaches, and 6.7% suffered from fever, gastric, jaundice, blurred vision and hearing problems.    

The study was conducted at 16 tanneries, two leather goods production factories, and two footwear industries.

Studies were conducted at a total of 20 industries to determine the occupational health and safety status in the leather supply chain from October 11 to November 20 last year in Dhaka and Savar.

Details in the study

According to the study, 93% of the workers did not get any kind of training ever.  Among the respondents 32.7% perceived inadequate lighting, 22.1% chemical gases, 21% polluted environment, 19% chemicals of manufacturing process, 17.3% dust and the rest are claiming noise, improper ventilation systems, heat, and lack of protective equipment are the cause of the mentioned health problems. 

Around 28.6% of workers have claimed using unsafe machinery, 20.2% unsafe handling of chemicals, 16.3% inattentiveness, 12% slippery floors, 11% materials, 10.6% poor housekeeping, and 1.9% respondents also claimed open needles as perceived factors related to injuries and accidents.

The study found that 67% of workers got safety equipment from the owners. 

Among the workers, 53% wear gloves, 53% masks, 28% boots, and 10% workers use goggles as safety equipment.

There are no welfare facilities in most of the factories such as first aid, treatment facilities, welfare officer, canteen, dining room, and there is no rest room, child room, safety committee, among all the studied factories.

Ziaul karim, manager (compliance) of Apex Footwear Ltd said: “Workers are not using safety equipment though we have all the equipment; they just do not want to wear them (safety equipment) even after they were trained.”

He recognized waste management, both solid and liquid, as the main challenge for the leather industry. 

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